Newsletter Archive

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah                                                                                (Mike Painter)

December 7, 2022

Dear CalUWild Friends & Supporters—

The midterm elections are past, and while the results were not as bad as they could have been for the environment, it’s going to be much more difficult to get land protection bills through Congress (not that very many got through in the last two years, either). Fortunately, Sen. Raphael Warnock was re-elected in Georgia, so that gives the Democrats a majority on all the Senate committees and somewhat dilutes the anti-environmental power that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had. Our focus will likely be much more on defense in Congress as needed and the White House and the Interior Department regarding national monument designations and resource management planning.

These elections were held with newly redrawn Congressional districts, where the number shrank by one—to 52. We will update our online California Congressional Information Sheet after the 118th Congress begins in January. Although we rarely send out information targeted by district, it’s useful to know where our members are located when events are scheduled or if there’s a meeting where it might be useful to have a constituent attend (via Zoom now, or in person). So we will be asking you sometime in the future to let us know what district you live in (either by representative’s name or district number). If you’d like to volunteer to set up an easy-to-use survey form, please send me an email.

CalUWild celebrated its 25th Anniversary last month. We couldn’t have gotten this far without the support of our members. As always, your advocacy is most important, and dues are voluntary, but we do have expenses that need to be met every month. With that in mind, we will be sending out our annual membership appeal soon, by US Mail or electronically, so please be on the lookout and respond as generously as you can. Contribution information may also be found at the end of this Update.
We’re looking forward to continuing our work into the future, with your support!

Best wishes for the holiday season,
Mike Painter, Coordinator

1.   Looking Ahead to 2023

2.   Molok Luyuk (Berryessa Snow Mountain
          National Monument) Expansion
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Job Opening at Friends of the Inyo

4.   Pres. Biden Commits to Protecting Avi Kwa Ame
          (ACTION ITEM)

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Looking Ahead to 2023

The 117th Congress is just about finished, and America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act saw no action in either House or Senate. That’s not totally surprising, given everything else that went on in Washington these last two years. The bill will be introduced again in the next Congress, and we will again be asking you to contact your representatives and senators to become cosponsors. Present lead sponsor, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47), is retiring at the end of this Congress. He’s been a champion for Utah’s and other public lands his entire time in DC. If you’d like to give his office a quick call, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.


Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit initial scoping comments on the management plans for Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments. There will be opportunities for public comment when the draft plans with their various alternatives are released next year, and we will provide information on commenting as it becomes available.

There has been no final resolution to the lawsuits regarding the shrinking of the national monuments in Utah by the previous administration. And in fact, the State of Utah recently sued the Biden Administration for restoring the monuments. Several members of the Inter-Tribal Coalition have petitioned to intervene in the lawsuit on the side of the Administration, as have a number of conservation groups. See this article in the Salt Lake Tribune: Tribes move to intervene in Utah’s monument lawsuit.

The Bureau of Land Management will also be preparing travel management plans for many of its field offices in Utah. We will continue to work with the our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other Utah Wilderness Coalition partners to bring you timely information about commenting as things develop.

2.    Molok Luyuk (Berryessa Snow Mountain
          National Monument) Expansion
          (ACTION ITEM)

The campaign continues to expand Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument in Lake County by adding presently-named Walker Ridge to it. As we’ve discussed in the past, Reps. John Garamendi (D-3) and Sen Alex Padilla (D) have introduced bills in the House and Senate to accomplish that and to rename it Condor Ridge (Molok Luyuk). At the same time, we are hoping that Pres. Biden will use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to enlarge the monument.

The Molok Luyuk Coalition, of which CalUWild is a member, has a website with information about the expansion proposal. It also includes an online petition, asking Pres. Biden to move ahead with a proclamation.

All coalition partners are asking their members to sign the petition.

Rep. Garamendi is still looking for cosponsors for his bill, despite the fact that this Congress is almost over, to demonstrate to the Administration that there is broad support for the expansion. We’ve added four since the last Update:

Jim Costa (D-16)
Ro Khanna (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)

If you live in one of their districts, please thank them. DC phone numbers are on our California Congressional Information Sheet. If you’re in another district, you can also look up whether your representative is a cosponsor or not. If not, please give them a call and ask them to sign on, explaining the timing of your request. Thank you!

3.   Job Opening at Friends of the Inyo

Friends of the Inyo, protecting the Eastern Sierra, Owens Valley, and the White Mountains region, is hiring a Policy Director. Full information may be found here.

4.    Pres. Biden Commits to Protecting Avi Kwa Ame
          (ACTION ITEM)

The White House held a second Tribal Nations Summit last week, the purpose of which was to “[build] on the 2021 Summit and the progress made to strengthen our Nation-to-Nation relationships and invest record levels of resources in Tribal communities …” At the meeting, Pres. Biden mentioned how he had used the Antiquities Act to restore the three national monuments last year, and in that context, he announced that he is committed to protecting Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain) in southern Nevada.

Please contact the White House to thank Mr. Biden for his announcement and to ask him to act quickly to permanently protect the full area proposed by the Tribes and others, keeping it safe from incompatible industrial development. And while you’re at it, request that he continue to move forward on designating additional national monuments that have been proposed, including Berryessa Snow Mountain.

You can call the White House at:


or use the online White House Contact Form.

For a detailed look at the Avi Kwa Ame proposal, this story map from the Conservation Lands Foundation is a good start, linked to in our September-October 2021 Update.

The Washington Post published a lengthy article about the proposal: Biden commits to honoring tribes by protecting public lands in Nevada. There was also a related op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun by Meghan Wolf of Patagonia: National monument will help drive outdoor recreation industry growth.

5.    Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. Gift links are temporary links from some websites, allowing non-subscribers to view articles for free. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

In Utah

An article in the Washington Post: Officials fear ‘complete doomsday scenario’ for drought-stricken Colorado River (gift link for non-subscribers)

In California

An article in the New York Times: The Desert Changed My Life. It Can Change Yours, Too. (gift link for non-subscribers)
An op-ed originally in the Los Angeles Times, by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie: An epic victory in the battle for free-flowing rivers, regarding final approval for the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River to restore salmon habitat.

In Alaska

An article in the New York Times on the Izembek Road controversy, about which we’ve written many times: Court to Reconsider Trump-Era Decision That Favored Alaska Road Project (gift link for non-subscribers)

In Colorado

Pres. Biden’s proclamation from October, establishing the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.

In Nevada

An article in The Guardian: There’s lithium in them thar hills – but fears grow over US ‘white gold’ boom

In Texas

An article in The New Yorker about the proposed Castner Range National Monument, which we’ve wrote about in our April Update. Though we generally don’t cover Texas, the Castner Range is adjacent to the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico: The Fight for a New National Monument in Texas

In General

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a report on wildlife migration. You can read and download the complete report here.

An article in The Guardian: ‘Ghosts of capitalism’: the push to dismantle America’s decrepit dams

An article in the New York Times: It’s Public Land. But the Public Can’t Reach It. (gift link for non-subscribers) Although the article focuses mostly on hunters, the same problem exists for other people seeking to access their public lands.

An article in National Parks Traveler: House Committee Hears Differing Opinions On How To Solve Park Crowding


Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and appreciated. Dues are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying activities. There are several ways to contribute:

– PayPal: email address info [at] caluwild [dot] org (We’re an unincorporated citizens group
and not selling any goods or services.)

– Zelle (interbank transfers): email address info [at] caluwild [dot] org, Michael Painter
(account administrator)

– By Check payable to CalUWild

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please send a check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

All checks should be mailed to:

P.O. Box 210474
San Francisco, CA 94121-0474

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